Corruption Probe Could Nix Angel Stadium Sale

Anaheim mayor under investigation for public corruption

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California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office has asked a court to call timeout on the $320 million sale of Angel Stadium in Anaheim while the city’s mayor is under federal investigation for public corruption. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that an FBI affidavit alleges Mayor Harry Sidhu pushed through a deal to sell the 150-acre stadium property to the Los Angeles Angels — despite violations of state housing laws — as a way to solicit a $1 million campaign contribution from the baseball franchise. The attorney general wants to pause the deal because he does not yet know if the results of the investigation could make the sale illegal.

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The affidavit was filed Monday in Orange County Superior Court. The City of Anaheim had agreed to sell Angel Stadium and the surrounding parking lots to team owner Arte Moreno in December 2019, in a deal that included $150 million in cash and $170 million in community benefits.

However, the state housing agency found the deal to be in violation of its affordable housing law. The city could have redone the deal to avoid a $96 million fine, but did not.

FBI agents also believe Sidhu shared confidential information with the Angels while the city was negotiating the sale. Sidhu has not been charged with a crime. His attorney declined to comment to the Times.

Anaheim City Councilman Jose Moreno, no relation to the Angels owner, called for a complete do-over of the stadium deal.

Arte Moreno’s company, SRB Management, also plans to build hotels, offices and retail developments on the parking lots. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by anyone associated with the Angels, the Times reported.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at gcornfield@commercialobserver.com.